Platform Specification Released by Embedded Linux Consortium

2/20/2003 - The Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) released the ELC Platform Specification, aimed at rallying the industry around a single Linux development standard for new embedded products. The specification delivers a unified open platform for embedded operating systems, rewarding developers by substantially decreasing the time and expense needed to add differentiating value to their applications.

Because Linux by its nature encourages widespread interoperability, the ELCPS can help unify the deeply fragmented embedded marketplace.

Embedded markets employ many operating systems - from those developed in-house to closed, proprietary commercial offerings to multiple versions of embedded Linux (where the underlying source code is public and open for modification). This diversity prevents product developers from easily reusing program code, often forcing them to start from scratch for each OS application or major revision. This fragmented approach makes it very difficult to create portable applications, and other valuable software products, that work well across a diverse variety of devices. And in this increasingly connected world, interoperability issues can dramatically hinder a devices market acceptance.

In contrast, the ELCPS enables competing Linux distributions to enhance interoperability by standardizing the application programming interface (API) layer of embedded applications. The ELCPS draws on widely used global Linux and UNIX standards such as the Linux Standard Base (LSB) 1.2; IEEE POSIX 1003.1-2001; and the Single UNIX Specification Version 3. The interfaces defined in the ELCPS enable companies to develop or revise applications without being tied to a single OS vendor or operating system version, driving down total system costs and time to market.

"New projects are migrating to commercially available platforms because of growing sophistication and complexity of software, hardware advances, connectivity needs and the need to be more efficient in product development. Linux continues to receive serious consideration by embedded developers," comments Stephen Balacco, Embedded Systems Analyst of market research firm Venture Development Corporation. "The vendor-neutral ELCPS, which is an open multi-vendor environment, is well-timed and supported by companies with global stakes in its success. It offers a real alternative to proprietary technology that is likely to accelerate this trend and ensure the interoperability and feeding of an ecosystem of applications, middleware, and third-party software functioning on ELCPS-compliant Linux platforms."

The ELC's Chairman, and CEO of LynuxWorks, Dr. Inder Singh, said The ELCPS will enable the global Linux community to compete more effectively against proprietary operating systems. Linux is making considerable strides in the IT world and embedded Linux mirrors that success. The ELCPS platform gives customers assurance of software compatibility and confidence theyll continue to have good choices in the future, when its time to add features or update products. The ELCPS provides developers of middleware and application software the assurance that their products will operate with conforming embedded Linux distributions from any vendor and help foster a growing base of available software around Linux. We think the ELCPS will accelerate customer selection of an embedded Linux distribution for their applications, leading to an even greater proliferation of embedded Linux projects.

The Linux operating systems well proven interoperability and quality have great potential to become the unifying forces of the embedded software market, said Dan Bandera, ELC Vice Chairman, and Program Director - Emerging Device Standards & Strategy - IBM Pervasive Computing. The ELCPS leverages the Linux Application Programming Interface (API) by delivering a vendor neutral specification that enables development tools, middleware, and applications to be routinely reused among competing distributions.

James Ready, ELC Director and Treasurer, and CEO of MontaVista Software, said "A major promise of the ELC's vendor-neutral platform is the assurance that no single-vendor operating system can succeed in dominating the embedded market, unlike what we have witnessed in the desktop market. Embedded computing requires diversity and the ELCPS delivers it to developers in a fair, sustainable and competitive way. In the computing business, this is revolutionary. In embedded computing, its absolutely necessary for continued market development."

A battle is underway to control key segments in the rapidly growing embedded computing market, particularly in consumer electronics, said Murry Shohat, ELC Executive Director. Global embedded operating system players as well as nations like Japan, China, India and Singapore are actively pursuing vertical segments by offering capital, university support and development platforms for everything from handheld computers to entertainment electronics to onboard automobile systems. Through the leverage provided by the ELCPS, Embedded Linux Consortium members aim to assist the various producers, supporters and consumers while enhancing competition in the market. The ELCPS is an ongoing effort under the auspices of the ELCs Core Platform Working Group.

About the ELC Core Platform Working Group
The ELC Core Platform Working Group - a standardization panel composed of independent vendor representatives - was first chartered by the ELC in early 2002. Member participants in the development of the ELCPS include technologists from IBM, LynuxWorks, Red Hat Software, MontaVista Software, Samsung Electronics, FSM Labs, Panasonic Technologies, Wipro and independent developers. Group membership is open to ELC members who agree to abide by its Intellectual Property Agreement. The ELCPS specification may be downloaded at the Consortiums website.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Embedded Linux Consortium, ELC, ELC Platform Specification, and ELCPS are trademarks of the Embedded Linux Consortium, Inc.

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